Improve PBP with integrated configuration
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  1. #1
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    Default Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    PBP is deficient in requiring config defines (and perhaps assembler code fragments) within the Basic program to get a PIC chip to even work at all. PBP should be expanded to provide complete coverage of the chip's functions so the programmer need only know BASIC as programmers using the Parallax Stamp do. At the very least PBP should provide a complete working base as good as the Stamp has, which more advanced programmers can chose to build in their directions of choice. Right now PBP doesn't work at all unless you add a set of configs and PBP Help key provides no help to create the set.

    Then after you have a set of configs, PBP reports errors but still compiles anyway. Why is there no help to fix the errors? Maybe you should add expertese to PBP so it will work as well as Bill Gates' original Altair 8800 Basic instead of a kluge of barely compatible systems where secret code for the register settings is required for any program to actually work.

    Oddly enough PBP claims to work with a LAN for updates but on my computer it shows no evidence of connecting to the internet either when the automatic or manual radio buttons are checked. Something needs to be done to update older copies of PBP to include support for the new PIC chips. Right now there are several .bas includes I've seen in sample code on this forum which are not available on my copy and unfortunately my vendor went out of business shortly after i bought in 2005.

    Last but not least, since the help to do a set of configs on this forum is not consistent, promising help then simply referring the poster to the PIC data sheet (book) which is virtually unreadable to all but experts, it seems PBP should be upgraded to write the config section using a Wizard to ask questions and write based on the answers provided.

    PS: Since newbies may require more help than this forum provides, there should be a sub-forum for recruiting consultants to provide answers that experts don't want to provide for free.
    Last edited by Kirk Fraser; - 18th March 2011 at 08:55.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    Kirk, the link provided in your request for defines does not go to the datasheet. It goes to a very well written post explaining the concept behind turning off the A/D function so the multiplexed pins may be used as digital.

    I for 1 am sorry you are having such a time right out of the gate. Programmers writing for the stamp only have 1 choice of processor. Pretty easy to cater to the PIC so the programmer doesn't have to learn how it works.

    PBP handles a multitude of devices. Not all of them work in the same way or even use the same registers.
    -Bert

    The glass is not half full or half empty, Its twice as big as needed for the job!

    http://foamcasualty.com/ - Warbird R/C scratch building with foam!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    > Pretty easy to cater to the PIC so the programmer doesn't have to learn how it works.

    Excellent typo - I think you meant Stamp, but your sentence describes succinctly what needs to be improved in PBP - make it so the programmer doesn't have to learn how the PIC works! Stamp Basic automatically decides based on the programmer's code whether to make a pin digital or analog so the programmer doesn't need to know how that is done. That's what a computer language compiler is for, so the programmer programs at a more abstract level than assembler.

    PBP's design is a generation too old, from the days of Peek and Poke programming. If PBP has to cover different internal code for different PICs then the programmer should only have to name the processor such as "include 18F4550.bas" or use the drop-down menu to get PBP to generate the right code for that chip. Any need to resort to ASM should be pre-empted by the redesign of PBP, as should any need to set up a configuration, especially the code to get the chip to simply work. However, the PBP redesign should be done carefully to avoid the language complexity and code bloat that came in as Microsoft moved from GBasic to Visual Basic.

    My qualifications for making suggestions to improve the PBP product include several years of working with a Stanford student to specify a new higher level computer language which he built in VBasic.
    Last edited by Kirk Fraser; - 18th March 2011 at 15:39.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    My qualifications for making suggestions to improve the PBP product include several years of working with a Stanford student to specify a new higher level computer language which he built in VBasic.
    That is cool.
    But when you are dealing with hardware things change. The Stamp gives you an "OS" of sorts, kind of like Windows when using VB.

    Other than the underlying BASIC syntax between the Stamp, PBP, VB, etc, they are all different animals. You know that.

    Even when using a Stamp, a person has to understand the hardware to do "advanced" projects. But it would be nice to be able to do like they do in Star Trek, "Computer, Make My Lunch" and it be done.
    Dave
    Always wear safety glasses while programming.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    You can follow the same topic here How do I learn configuration?
    Why pay for overpriced toys when you can have
    professional grade tools for FREE!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    Quote Originally Posted by mackrackit View Post
    The Stamp gives you an "OS" of sorts, kind of like Windows when using VB.
    Now you get it! If the PIC hardware can't help, a PBP software emulator for PICs could allow code testing seperate from burn testing. (Today I burned through 3-4 PICs and only have 3 left.)

    Quote Originally Posted by mackrackit View Post
    But it would be nice to be able to do like they do in Star Trek, "Computer, Make My Lunch" and it be done.
    If I were better at defining a language, I'd be on my way. Now I have a language that is only at "chatterbot" level which I'll have to rewrite in C++ to improve things to drive a robot to make lunch.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    Hey Bert, tell him about the sim you use...

    If I were better at defining a language, I'd be on my way. Now I have a language that is only at "chatterbot" level which I'll have to rewrite in C++ to improve things to drive a robot to make lunch.
    But think of the hardware involved
    Dave
    Always wear safety glasses while programming.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    After 10+ years of PIC's the hard way (coding in ASM) with no money to buy any real tools, I got turned onto PBP. Even though I am very used to the datasheet's provided by microchip, I still had a learning curve for PBP. Do I think it should be written differently? NO, NOT AT ALL!!! As soon as you take the time to learn something about these fun little gems, you will appreacite the versatility provided by PBP.

    The sim Dave is talking about is Proteus VSM. Its an awesome tool for testing code and some hardware. hardware not being its strong point. Before having this I used ICD from microchip, and microchip sim in MPLAB. All great tools. But you still need some understanding of whats going on. There are plenty here who are glad to help and very knowledgeable. They all help anyone who asks for any help. Not all know everything but all seem to know something and I have yet to see a problem un resolved or a newbie ever ridiculed. This is one of the most comfortable forums I have ever been on.

    Having said that, let me please also point out this: I realize this is a wish list catagory. As such, you can wish for PBP to be anything you want it to be. but wishing for it to be something else and bashing it are 2 different things. If you want help here, try not going after what the rest of us believe in. We like PBP. are there some things that could be different? maybe. If you are so well adapt with C++ why not use one of the many C-style compiliers.

    As for feeling like you should be able to use the PIC's without understanding them, thats just silly. Here is my take on this: I drive a car. Do I need to know how it works-NO. but if I want it to go faster, get better MPG, or do anything else the manufacture didn't build in, I will have to learn how it works. So the analogy is this: use the stamp, want more speed use the BS2 I think its faster. want to get under the hood because its not fast enough for you? LEARN how it works. MANY MANY MANY others before you have learned with the material and support available to you. MANY more will learn after you.

    And BTW, maybe I like the datasheet because 20 some years ago we were taught in college how to read datasheets. back then you were proud to own the big yellow TI data book explaining all you never wanted to know about 7400 series devices. If you think the datasheet should read like a book, it wouldn't be a datasheet of 300 pages, it would be a trilogy of 600 page novels.
    -Bert

    The glass is not half full or half empty, Its twice as big as needed for the job!

    http://foamcasualty.com/ - Warbird R/C scratch building with foam!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    It would be nice if PBP did everything it could including setting up each chip function (such as PWM or A/D or simply flashing LEDs) when called. That change is not too big to suggest or ask for.

    I started programming MPU's back when Parallax only had the BS1. Now I only use the BS2px24 and it works but too slow. I started building an Altair 8800 soon after first advertized on the cover of Popular Electronics Jan 75 and it arrived. I had no soldering errors with the original kit and programmed by front panel switches. I graduated in Computer and Information Science in 1982, less than a year after they moved the compiler class up from a senior level to a graduate level class so I missed it but got notes from someone who went on to graduate school. I do not yet know C++ but so much stuff is written in it I'll learn it. I've already invested in PBP at the recommendation of the teacher who helped me move up from the Stamp to the PIC.

    I've been spoken of by a guy who learned to read late in life as someone who could take a paper, convert it into a paragraph and not lose anything. So I know the data ream can be condensed.

    Most importantly, I've become what is likely the world's expert on the difference between traditional churches and the true church which came down from heaven in Jesus' blood. I hope to start it soon. But most adults seem too old to change.
    Last edited by Kirk Fraser; - 19th March 2011 at 07:27.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Improve PBP with integrated configuration

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Fraser View Post
    Most importantly, I've become what is likely the world's expert on the difference between traditional churches and the true church which came down from heaven in Jesus' blood. I hope to start it soon. But most adults seem too old to change.
    Best way I've seen in a looonnnnggggg time on how to kill a thread! Keep up the good work! Good work, get it? ROFL

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